So many things have come to mind since the catastrophic Lahaina Maui fire on August 8. This is yet another one. To be clear, this is in no way intended to detract from our concern for the grave situation here on Maui.
Many of you feel marooned because you have to cancel your trip to West Maui, but the host may not let you. Or you were evacuated from Maui, unable to complete your trip, and had additional expenses. We heard from one reader who had a large gathering booked in West Maui for $30,000 without insurance and appears stuck holding the bill.
“How would trip insurance protect me under such fast-changing circumstances?” Trip insurance, domestic travel, and wildfires are things we had never fully connected before this. But now we all need to add wildfires and perhaps trip insurance to the context of travel planning and potential cancellations or disruptions caused by natural disasters like the Maui wildfires.
Here’s a question we just received from Jamie: “
Has anyone filed a trip cancellation claim with their travel insurance and heard back from them? I had a honeymoon planned September 2-8 staying at a condo in Kaanapali. We want to do the right thing and postpone our trip, however all of our vacation money is tied up in this non-refundable reservation.
I purchased travel insurance, but since our condo seems to still be available, I’m not sure insurance will cover the claim. I reached out to our host on VRBO just this last weekend to see if they will cancel our reservation and am awaiting their response. I understand my vacation is the least important item on the agenda right now and will remain patient. I was just wondering if anyone has had any luck with travel insurance.”
Where can Cancel/interrupt for any reason trip insurance help.
This specific type of trip insurance could protect 75% of your potentially lost investment. It’s one that we often purchase and is worth considering. That has never been as true as it is today. Whether for wildfires, airline disruptions, or a wide range of unexpected things that seem to happen much more frequently these days.
While it doesn’t cover 100%, it does protect most of your money. When we decide how much coverage we need, we remove any charges or fees we believe would be reimbursed. That way, we only cover the amount we might forfit.
Cancel and interrupt for any reason coverage are the ones that work, in most cases, no matter what. You don’t need to document anything other than that you had a trip and you cancelled or interrupted it. We consider them the fall-back clause, so that if you don’t technically qualify or the other ones like trip cancellation or trip interruption, this one will usually still work.
Trip insurance, or travel insurance, is a range of different coverage types that help protect your Hawaii vacation investment via cost reimbursement or emergency assistance in the event of unexpected events occurring before or during your Hawaii vacation. These events can range from seemingly unlikely events, like the catastrophic Maui wildfires, to medical emergencies, trip interruption and cancellation, baggage delay and loss, missed connections, and more.
Wildfires like the one on Maui spread with dramatic speed. Wildfires can result from various things, including drought, high winds (in this case, from the remnant of a hurricane), lightning, or human behavior.
Things to keep in mind regarding trip insurance and wildfires.
Trip interruption/cancellation. When a wildfire happens near your vacation destination before your trip, there may be coverage when there are specific closures, evacuation orders, or other objective disruptions. This type of trip insurance may offer coverage for non-refundable expenses, be they accommodations, air or ground travel, tours, and activities.
Travel Delay: Wildfires like the one on Maui can lead to flight delays and cancellations. Trip insurance can compensate for expenses you incur based on delays, including alternative transportation, accommodations, and meals.
Emergency medical insurance: Should healthcare be required due to wildfires, trip insurance can offer coverage. However, that is also likely available as part of your mainland medical insurance.
Fine print, limits, exclusions: Each clause of a trip insurance policy is its own binding contract with specific coverage, limits, and exclusions. Sometimes wildfires may be included, and other times not. And insurance can’t be purchased once known problems exist – like once a fire starts.
Take-away: If you buy trip insurance, you must read every clause like any other contract. That way, you can pick one that provides the coverage you expect for wildfire and other things. Policies vary widely. Also, remember what coverage may already be available to you via your current health, auto, and homeowners insurance as well as some credit cards.